Store design of Kitchener’s Highland Cannabis wins Canada competition

Highland Cannabis prides itself as the go-to mom-and-pop cannabis shop in Kitchener.

The independently owned Highland Cannabis opened for business in February 2021.


Since 2015, the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada has been recognizing industry professionals through an annual awards program.

For 2021, the association gave the top prize to Benjamin John Ouellette in the “luxury alternative retail” category of the “commercial space” class in its decorating and design competition.

Ouellette designed the nearly 3,000-square-foot Highland Cannabis store in Kitchener.

Highland Cannabis opened for business in February 2021. The business prides itself as the go-to mom-and-pop weed shop in the Ontario city.

Ouellette is a long-time friend of store owners and spouses Owen and Niki Allerton.

In a media release, Owen Allerton related that the couple has worked with Ouellette in the past. Highland Cannabis was their first commercial project.

“We described our operational model and the feeling we wanted to achieve, and Benjamin not only brought it to life with his exceptional design,” Allerton said.

He added that the Waterloo-based designer also “played a critical role throughout the build-out process, assisting with fit and finish selection, lighting plans, fixture design and creative input”.

The release states that the design “not only optimizes the use of space in a uniquely shaped retail unit in the Evergreen Plaza on Highland Road”.

The store’s design also “includes challenging design elements such as suspended wooden features and custom fixtures”.

In the same release, Oullette said that the “high-end design” combines the Allertons’ vision and the province’s guidelines for a cannabis retail store.

“It was a challenging yet rewarding process to use the psychological elements and principles of design to create this space and guide customers through an inviting, safe and aesthetically pleasing retail environment,” Oullette said.

Highland Cannabis adds to growing list of shops

The release notes that the Allertons brought in Wayne Montgomery and the latter’s Montgomery Custom company to execute the design.

“Benjamin’s design included several challenging elements, such as the suspended wooden features, massive moss walls and custom designed display cases but we love a good challenge,” Montgomery said.

In February 2021, the month Highland Cannabis opened its doors, legal pot shops across the country sold $262,957,000 worth of various pot products.

A Statistics Canada report stated that the sales represent a 73.1 percent increase in year-over-year transactions compared to February 2020.

In February 2020, consumers bought $151,930,000 worth of cannabis products nationwide.

Cannabis sales have been increasing since recreational pot was legalized in October 2018.

Statistics Canada said in another report that 2020 sales more than doubled from 2019.

The federal agency disclosed that $2.62 billion worth of legal recreational cannabis products were sold in 2020.

Moreover, the Canadian cannabis-retail sector boomed in 2020.

By the end of that year, around 1,400 licensed cannabis stores operating across the country, up from about 760 shops in 2019.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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